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Kristen Leigh | Making Friends with Ghosts

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United States - United States

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Folk: Alternative Folk Rock: Folk Rock Moods: Type: Lyrical
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Making Friends with Ghosts

by Kristen Leigh

A creative and introspective album containing 16 original tracks from singer/songwriter Kristen Leigh, whose richly haunting voice and evocative lyrics offer depth, humor, intrigue, and a refreshing authenticity.
Genre: Folk: Alternative Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Intro
1:20 album only
2. Remember Who You Are
4:45 $0.99
3. The Space in the Distance
4:32 $0.99
4. 9:41
1:16 album only
5. Going All In
5:00 $0.99
6. Stouffer Chemical Company
6:41 $0.99
7. Sunday Morning
4:26 $0.99
8. Little Star (the lullaby)
4:45 $0.99
9. Day Off
5:19 $0.99
10. Right Where I Am
2:55 $0.99
11. Sacred Heart
4:20 $0.99
12. Lady Dorothy
2:44 album only
13. California (if you go)
5:16 $0.99
14. Weathering the Storm
5:10 $0.99
15. Gratitude
6:00 $0.99
16. Reprise
7:12 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
A singer/songwriter of raw authenticity, Kristen Leigh's music represents a wildly eclectic mix of styles, encompassing nearly every genre with a subtle twang and an alternative edge.

Influenced primarily by traditional folk music and artists like Patty Griffin, Leonard Cohen, Tori Amos, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Fiona Apple, the self-taught North Carolina native has independently recorded and released three albums: "Home for Christmas" (2007), "Still Apt" (2008), which features Leigh's unique interpretation of 11 songs of social protest written during the 60's and 70's, and her newest release o originals, "Making Friends with Ghosts" (2010).

When asked to define the genre of her latest project, Leigh replied: "Well, the album has folk guitar, piano instrumentals, orchestral string arrangements, banjo, trumpet, accordion, whistling, glockenspiel, the ocean, darkness, light, intensity, whimsy, sarcasm, crickets, harmonica, flute, a crowd of people clapping their hands and singing "la la las," and it opens with a medieval harpsichord and the epic reading of a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. So, whatever genre includes all of that..."

Though her lyrics are inspired by her own life and experiences, Kristen Leigh's hope in the face of raw human experience seems to strike a chord with diverse audiences. Of her voice, one reviewer writes: "Leigh is blessed with one of those rich voices that would still be captivating if she sang insurance quotes." Maintaining her sense of humor even in her darkest moments (of which there have been a few), Leigh brings a depth of honesty and thoughtfulness to indie folk music.

In a recent interview, Leigh had the following to say about the album's title and lyrical content: "It's about making friends with the past, in terms of embracing the emotions and experiences that have haunted me. I've had a bit of a rough time of it the past few years, through broken relationships, financial hardship, and some tragic family losses. I was trying to come to grips with all these things while also trying to figure out what I was doing with my life and my music, and how to come out the other side of all of it - embracing both the goodness and the pain without running away from either. I was looking for a new way to face the reality of what was going on. "

Birthed out of the insights gained from those experiences, "Making Friends with Ghosts" is a collection of songs written by Leigh during the past five years. While the album traverses some introspective territory with songs like "Remember Who You Are," "The Space in the Distance," "California," and "Going All In," she maintains her lightness and laughter in tracks like "Day Off," and even with the playfulness but brief piano interlude, "9:41." Leigh also offers some compelling social and religious commentary with songs like "Right Where I Am" and "Sacred Heart," yet ultimately arrives at a point of redemption with the folk-rock anthems "Weathering the Storm" and "Gratitude," taking the listener on an honest and eye-opening journey through the depths of sorrow and back out again, all in just a little over an hour.

Performing for over ten years at live music venues, local bars, coffee houses, musical theaters, music venues, local bars, coffee houses, street fairs, and festivals all over North and South Carolina as well as New York, California, and Indonesia, Leigh has a well-developed ability to carve out her own niche and win the hearts of virtually any audience. The passion and emotion she pours into each performance is assuaged by a down-to earth and often witty stage presence that offers a refreshingly disarming contrast to today's style of pop-performance-driven entertainment. Leigh's live music sets are typically a mix of traditional folk tunes, Leigh's original material, and her (often surprising) interpretation of both well-known and little-known songs that span generations.

Mark Wingerter of the Carolinian writes, "Her drive is simply an essential love and respect for those artists whom she has studied and learned from...It is evident she feels that energy, and you can't help but listen over the conversations mumbling through the room. What she displays on stage is essentially Kristen Leigh. It is much more than just playing songs to entertain."



to write a review

Brad at CD Baby

While this 16-song, hour-plus album is certainly rooted in folk, it's Leigh's expansion beyond the confines of the traditional tenets associated with the genre that really makes this collection a standout. Delicate piano melodies anchor the majority of the tracks, but they're tastefully layered with solemn violin leads, giving the songs both dark edges and an emotional earnestness that Leigh's deceptively strong voice complements perfectly. The majority of the arrangements are as simple as this, and the fact that she's able to conjure so much passion and raw feeling from such sparse foundations is impressive. Leigh knows what makes a melody work, and her lyrics, though sometimes ostensibly sweet, are lined with a darkness that can make the most lilting tune turn quickly sinister. On "Gratitude," she sings, "Underneath everybody's clothes/ Is a set of bloody aching bones," before pondering large-scale questions about life over a slowly building swell of strings and piano. She's not one to shy away from a challenge in both her lyrics and her music, and it makes for a daringly memorable batch of songs.